In the digital economy, the success of a modern business is largely determined by the effective application of technologies. This has been made all the more important by global trends and shifting market conditions. Businesses now more than ever need to be able to transact with customers and employees across borders and timezones whilst continuously providing a seamless service that will create trust and confidence in the company.
It is also important to consider time as a vital commodity as competitive businesses cannot afford a moment’s respite; only a few minutes of inactivity, or lack of access to data or applications, can lead to huge losses. And without a time machine, these can’t be amended. The damages can have a real impact on the bottom line.
For instance, Veeam Data Center Availability Report 2014 showed that annual loss from downtime and data loss from their legacy backup solutions can total up to $10m annually. Businesses need to be ‘Always-On’ and accessible for their key stakeholders, as well as customers and partners at all times.
"Time is money," may be a well-used cliché, but it encapsulates today’s business environment and is more relevant than ever. IT outages have a huge impact on both a company’s immediate profitability but also on its reputation. The loss of confidence resulting from an IT disaster threatens customers’ loyalty and retention, and it is likely the worst thing that can happen to any business.
There have been many examples of IT failures at large organisations in recent years, notable amongst these was the computer failure at the Royal Bank of Scotland which resulted in the company being fined £56 million by regulators, on top of the £125m in compensation and costs set aside by the bank because of the disruption. The failure affected nearly 7 million customers causing severe reputational and financial damage to the company and it meant that the banks’ customers could not access basic account services.
Cloud and mobility have fundamentally changed how companies engage with their employees and their customers. It is clear that businesses now need to work 24/7 and be ‘Always-On’. Data and applications need to be usable 24 hours, 7 days a week, from anywhere in the world. The availability of information becomes a critical success factor and systems need to be in place to make sure that it always available.
According to a global forecast by Cisco, by 2018 the number of devices and connections worldwide will reach nearly 21 billion from 12 billion in 2013. The average speed of fixed broadband will increase from 16 Mbit / s to 42 Mbit / s, and the volume of world IP-traffic could reach 1.6 zettabytes per year. The load on the network and equipment will increase in direct proportion to the growth of information, so complementing this will be more hardware and software that offers access to data and applications at any time and without fear of failure or loss.
The complex challenges that have been identified were, until recently, only able to be addressed by two types of products: high-quality, high-performance, but expensive solutions that actually were only available to large companies owing to the considerable cost, or affordable, programmes, but with a long cycle recovery system. In addition, these solutions did not guarantee a full refund of the data and created such an inconvenience for companies that they could not afford more productive counterparts.
The fact that there was a gap between quality and affordable IT was formed largely due to the challenges facing the modern data centre; primarily – the need to optimise the speed of recovery of data and applications, as well as confidence in achieving 100% recovery of information. Equally important is the flexibility of the system, its ability to neutralise risks whilst monitoring potential threats so that they can be reported to the administrator thereby preventing the onset of the crisis.
In the market today there are solutions that provide the proper level of protection and availability of data in the data centre whilst also ensuring that the communications channel is consistently optimised. Thus, a kind of abyss in IT in just a few years has been bridged, providing support for business and a platform for further development of technologies in this field.
So, opting for an effective solution allows businesses not only to minimise the risks of loss and the inability to recover data, but also to close the gulf in IT, enabling all businesses to put the theory of the Always-On Business into practice.